What Are the Benefits of Internet Control Message Protocol?

By John Williams

ICMP protocol can communicate with any computer on the network.
i Network connection image by Fantasista from Fotolia.com

Computer networks provide unlimited uses for today's society. A network administrator's responsibility consists of always being able to track a problem when it happens on the network. To perform their jobs effectively, they rely on a vast amount of tools and expertise. One such tool is ICMP protocol. This protocol is integrated with IP protocol, which is the basic makeup of a network and allows requests to be sent out and information to be sent back to the administrator.

Diagnostic Utility

ICMP protocol helps network administrators by assisting them in diagnosing networking issues. Most issues that arise, like server outages or computer failure, are determined with two helpful commands. These commands are PING and TRACERT. An administrator uses PING to send a request from the local computer he uses to another computer or server. This request travels across the network and, once it reaches the other machine, a reply gets sent back to the original computer letting the administrator know that the communication was received. TRACERT performs the same function as PING. This tool will display the path that the request takes across the network so the administrator can view where the breakdown on the network occurred.

Network Speed

Network speed provides users with the access on demand that they require in order to accomplish their task on the network or Internet. Many times administrators run into situations where users complain about Internet pages, as well as network resources, taking too long to load. ICMP protocol provides administrators with the ability to send timed requests across the network, which determines if the network has a bottleneck slowing down access. Most acceptable time spans come back under 100 milliseconds; anything more usually signifies a problem either on the network or the resource a user attempts to access. This type of slow-down is called slow throughput.

Network Layer

Every network has multiple layers that actually make up the entire network, from the computers and servers that operate on the network, to even the pieces you do not see--like the Network layer which helps ICMP protocol actually function. The network layer builds the backbone of the Internet and all networks that transfer any type of data requests. Since the network layer plays such an important part of the network, having the ICMP protocol run on this layer allows the protocol to detect problems that arise and helps track down the source so the administrator can correct the issue(s) right away.